Text and photo by Skeeter Lasuzzo
The Belted Kingfisher is both fun and frustrating to photograph. These little birds will hardly sit still long enough to get a good close up image. There are many things about the kingfisher that are interesting, such as the female is more brightly colored than the male, unusual in the bird world, and how they dive head first into the water in an attempt to catch fish. One of the most unexpected facts about the kingfisher is that they build their nest in a burrow in the dirt banks near creeks or streams. The burrow will usually slope upward from the entrance, probably to keep water out and can be anywhere from one to eight feet in length.
We have found that spotting a Kingfisher and then trying to get close to it is almost impossible. Since we had previously seen a Kingfisher near a small body of water in Hagerman Wildlife Refuge, we set up and waited for the Kingfisher to show up. After a while, the male Kingfisher showed up and landed on a limb just as we had hoped. Upon landing on the limb, the Kingfisher announced its arrival by raising its topnotch and tail feathers and letting out its loud cry. We were prepared and got the image.
ED: New Bird Checklists are now available at Refuge Headquarters, stop in and pick up one on your next visit. For more information about the Refuge, see http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/hagerman/index.html and for information about activities and events, see http://www.friendsofhagerman.com/.